Sunday, December 8, 2013


Out of all the things I love in life, there are two that I've been a part of for more than a decade or two. Watching movies is one. Reading comicbooks is the other.

I got my first taste of comics when my nephew (who is oddly enough a year older than me) introduced me to the X-Men when I was in my early teens. He was into it because of the artwork by the great Jim Lee. But for me, I became a fan of comics from that point on, and it's been over twenty years since then.

Most folks who enjoy reading prefer books, like novels and the like. But for me, comics are far more fascinating. Unlike a novel, where the story usually ends on the last page, a comic keeps the story going to the next issue, and the next, and so forth until that story arc ends, then it makes a new one, which means a new situation to put its heroes in. And best of all, it has the art for the reader to admire.

Comics are at its level best when both the story and art are perfect and they compliment each other well. It's rare for that to happen at times, as one element may be much stronger than the other. Even so, the comic can still be enjoyable, as long as it has decent quality overall.

Over the years, I've read so many titles, from X-Men to The Avengers, from Iron Man to Spider-Man, from Superman to Batman, from Wolverine to Daredevil, from the Justice League to the Fantastic Four and the list goes on. Some stories stick with you, some just pass you by and forgotten. I must admit there have been more forgettable ones than memorable ones, but rarely has there been a time when I totally hated the stuff I was reading. More often than not, each title has a redeeming quality of sorts (except the one featuring Wolverine's son, which was a bore).

Some of my favourite stories are still somewhat fresh in my mind, like the story where Dr Doom almost beat the Fantastic Four because he used sorcery and not science to outwit Reed Richards, or the X-Men ceasing to exist after Professor Xavier's son went back in time and accidentally killing him, or Daredevil dealing with the revelation of his secret identity to the public, or Captain America assassinated, or the what if scenario where the villains won and only Wolverine is left alive. So many stories stand out over the years, a part of me wishes I had the time to read those stories again.

But now, I'm facing a problem. I've been taking in too many books as of late. Space has now become an issue, so I'm working on selling some comics that I can do without. I'm not overly concerned with how much I can get for them (theoretically comics appreciate in value over time), I just want to let them go to make way for new ones. And there are tons of new ones.

The other problem is the fact that comics are a dying business, in Malaysia anyway. While the US and other western countries thrive on the comic business, especially with so many superhero films coming out lately, comic book shops here have been struggling. We still have many readers, it's just that some of them have not been collecting their orders, it seems. I still wonder why that is. If this keeps up, people like me may have to read collected trade paperbacks (compilation of issues) to keep up. And as organised as that sounds, it's just not the same as holding one thin comic book in your hands, reading it, getting to the end and eagerly waiting to buy the next one when it comes out.

I don't know if I'll ever stop reading these things. Sometimes I feel a burden just having them around me in my room. But there's a part of me that still loves and craves for them. Maybe someday. But not yet.